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Simon and Alison Holst's recipes - ANZAC biscuits, corned beef hash - 24 April

ANZAC Biscuits Background

It could be a myth that these biscuits date back to 1914, as the first published recipe only appeared in 1921. But who's counting?

The recipe was popular for sending to troops because, without eggs, the oat-based biscuits would keep for weeks.

Anzac Biscuits

For about 36 biscuits:
100g butter
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla or almond essence
1 cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup coconut
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp warm water

Heat oven to 160degC. Melt the butter in a fairly large saucepan. Add golden syrup and stir until blended. Take off heat. Add next five ingredients to the saucepan. Stir everything together then add baking soda dissolved in the water.

Using your hands, shape into walnut-sized (or smaller) balls, and place on baking paper on baking trays, leaving room for spreading. Bake for about 15 minutes, until evenly golden brown.

Transfer to a rack after 1-2 minutes. When cold, store in airtight containers.

Variation: Add 1 cup chopped roasted peanuts before adding sugar. If mixture is crumbly, add 1-2 tbsp extra water.

Corned Beef Hash

This delicious hash is our version of bully beef patties ANZAC troops used to make using their 'hard tack' rations. Apparently, they would crush the hard tack biscuits (sometimes putting them in bags and running them under trucks!), then combine the crumbs with canned corned beef, a little water and even some wild thyme.

For 4 servings:
4 large (about 800g) all purpose or floury potatoes, cooked
1-2 cups cubed meat, e.g. canned corned beef
about 1/4 cup chopped gherkins, cucumber or other pickle
4 spring onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
butter or oil for frying

Roughly chop or mash the cooked potatoes with a fork. Mix with the cubed meat, chopped gherkins, spring onion and parsley. If the potato and meat mixture looks a little dry at this point, add just enough milk to dampen it so it will stay together during cooking.

Heat a 20-23cm non-stick frypan or electric frypan. Add enough butter or oil to coat the base and sides, then add the potato mixture. Cover and cook on a low-to-moderate heat until a crust forms around the bottom and sides (about 20-30 minutes). Carefully run a knife around the edge so it does not stick, then slide out the hash cake onto a plate. Add a little more butter or oil, then slide the hash cake back into the pan again, cooked side up.

To serve, cut into quarters. It is particularly nice served with tomatoes and coleslaw or a lettuce salad.